Ancient Cities of North Africa & the Iberian Peninsula

Ancient Cities of North Africa & the Iberian Peninsula



We begin in southern Iberia, where Arab influences are found everywhere, but especially in cosmopolitan Seville, where we can trace the legacies of Moorish and Catholic Spain as they mingle in the monuments of this great city. Crossing to North Africa, where the Islamic heritage is very much alive and well, we visit the ancient medinas and markets of Tangier, Tetouan, and Oran. Further to the east, the ancient world is spectacularly represented in the tomb of King Juba II in Tipasa and by the UNESCO-designated Roman ruins at Djemila. And in Tunis, we find ourselves at the site of the ruins of Carthage—and also at starting point of the Arab Spring.

Pricing from

A limited number of cabins are available for single occupancy in categories D to B at no additional charge. Additional single cabins are available at a supplement of 50% of the per person double occupancy rate, instead of the normal 70% supplement.

Trip Type
Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
Departure Dates
Aug 15, 2023 - Aug 27, 2023


Arriving in early 2023, SH Diana will be the largest ship in our fleet, providing elegant and spacious 5-star accommodation for 192 guests in 96 spacious staterooms and suites, the vast majority with large balconies. Operated by an onboard team of 140 she will provide the highest levels of personal service and take Swan Hellenic back to its roots when she launches, exploring the Mediterranean and its famous sites of antiquity.


CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS: All cancellations are subject to a $300 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received 61-90 days prior to departure will be assessed a penalty equal to 50% of the total program cost per person. Cancellations received within 60 days of departure are subject to 100% cancellation penalties. Requests for cancellations must be made in writing. No refunds will be made for any part of this program in which you choose not to participate.


N Africa map


  • day 1


  • day 2


    Arrive in Lisbon and transfer to the deluxe hotel Dom Pedro Lisboa. In the evening, meet fellow travelers at a welcome dinner. (D)

  • day 3


    Following breakfast at the hotel, tour Lisbon’s highlights including the Belem Quarter and the Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage monument that is a superb example of Portuguese Manueline style. Also visit historic Belem Tower, the point from which many Portuguese explorers, including Vasco da Gama, set sail. Late in the after noon, transfer to the pier to embark Diana and set sail. (B,L,D)

  • day 4


    Portimao is our gateway to the Algarve and to Silves and Monchique. Silves is a typical Algarve village of cobblestoned streets lined with shops selling local handicrafts, many of them housed n buildings characteristic of the period of Islamic rule. Silves Castle, the best-preserved castle in the region, offers panoramic views of the town and the surrounding countryside. In Monchique, we will visit Caldas de Monchique, the hot springs famous since antiquity for their healing waters and among the most-visited places in the Algarve. (B,L,D)

  • day 5


    Occupied by the Romans, conquered by Islamic invaders, and ruled by a succession of Catholic monarchs, Seville is one of Europe’s most important and affluent maritime cites. After docking in the city along the banks of the Guadalquivir River, explore the Alcazar, the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Travel to the historic Barrio Santa Cruz, a neighborhood of labyrinthine streets and alleys dating to the Middle Ages, when it was the old Jewish Quarter. Enjoy some time at leisure, as the ship remains docked overnight. (B,L,D)

  • day 6


    This morning, tour Seville’s large and fanciful Gothic Cathedral—the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the burial site of Christopher Columbus. See the Cathedral’s main points of interest, including the Capilla Mayor and La Giralda—the intricately detailed bell tower that is the city’s most well-known symbol. Also visit Maria Luisa Park, once a private garden attached to the Palace of San Telmo, now Seville’s largest public green space. (B,L,D)

  • day 7


    Founded by the Phoenicians in the seventh century BC, Tangier was ruled by Arabs in the early 8th-century, when it and nearby Tetouan were used as bases for the invasion of southern Spain. Explore Tangier’s, a classic Moroccan town of narrow lanes and stepped passages, dominated by a kasbah. Then travel to Tetouan, which was rebuilt in the 15th century by Andalusian refugees who had been expelled during the Spanish reconquest. Although it is a small medina, Tetouan’s is among the most authentic, having been largely untouched by later outside influences. (B,L,D)

  • day 8


    Oran, like much of North Africa, has been ruled by a variety of powers—Berbers, Arabs, Ottomans, Spanish, and French. Today, as the second largest city in Algeria, it is a center of commerce, industry, and culture. We will explore several of Oran’s highlights, including the 17th-century Fort Santa Cruz that overlooks the city and the Sidi El Houari district. We will also visit the Medina Jedida, a massive market selling flowers, textiles, jewelry, and souvenirs of every description. Here we will have the opportunity to sample Algerian street food, including kerentica, a cake made with chickpea flower and eggs that is a specialty of Oran. (B,L,D)

  • day 9


    Located about 40 miles west of Algiers, Tipasa’s ancient temples and ruins overlook the Mediterranean to dramatic effect. Visit the Villa of Frescoes, a Roman mansion; the second-century Judicial Basilica; a 4th-century Christian Basilica; the site’s museum; and the Tombeau de la Chretienne, burial place of Mauritanian King Juba II and his wife, Cleopatra Selene. Time permitting, we will discover some of the delights of contemporary Algiers before returning to the ship. (B,L,D)

  • day 10


    From the port of Bejaia, a drive into the hills of the interior brings us to Djemila, which the UNESCO World Heritage convention describes as “one of the world’s most beautiful Roman ruins.” The site includes a Triumphal Arch to Emperor Caracalla, built in AD 216; Grand Baths; a market; and the Old Forum, featuring stunning friezes and a third-century altar. Also visit the local museum, exhibiting a superb collection of mosaics and other artifacts. (B,L,D)

  • day 11


    Annaba is home to the ancient site of Hippo Regius, once ruled by Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines, among others. Explore Hippo’s Roman Forum, the largest and oldest in North Africa, and visit the Baths dedicated to Septimius Severus. At the nearby modern Basilica of St. Augustine, we will enjoy the hilltop view over the ruins and the rest of the city before visiting the basilica proper, which is dedicated to the author of the Confessions and The City of God, Bishop of Hippo, in the early 5th century. (B,L,D)

  • day 12


    From Tunis, travel to storied Carthage, a Phoenician stronghold from the 9th century BC. The site includes several Phoenician remains, including Tophet, the sanctuary of the gods Tanit and Baal, as well as many monuments from the Roman period. Returning to Tunis, we explore the Bardo Museum, world-renowned for its spectacular collection of Roman mosaics, and enjoy time at leisure visiting the city’s medina and its souks. (B,L,D)

  • day 13


    After breakfast aboard, disembark and transfer to the airport for flights homeward. (B)

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